Alexrims is a long-time producer and original equipment manufacturer supplier of bicycle rims and wheels. You will see a lot of Alex and A-Class rims on bikes of various brands, but in the past two years, the company has been working to plant a stake in the aftermarket wheel department. Given their expertise in aluminum extrusion and forging and wheel engineering and manufacturing, Alexrims has no problem producing wheels cycling enthusiasts want.
The Boondocks 3 is one of several cyclocross and gravel wheels offered by Alexrims. The Boondocks 3 follows the trend we are seeing in off-road wheels by pairing a tubeless ready, disc only design with Alexrims' alloy wheel construction experience. With a sub-1,600 gram weight and a retail price of $330, the Boondocks 3 is worth a look as an affordable mid-weight cyclocross/gravel wheelset.
Lighter than its brother, the Boondocks 5, which has a reinforced rim extrusion, the Boondocks 3 is a tubeless ready sub-1,600 gram wheelset with a 30mm deep, 24.6mm wide (outside width) aluminum rim. The inner profile looks perfect for wider 700c or 29” tires with a 21mm internal width, a bead shelf that has a small lip to keep the tire bead from sliding off and a 4.5mm high "hookless" rim wall.
The need for a "hookless" rim wall for an aluminum rim is open for debate and at high tire pressures, one might argue against it. With respect to the Boondocks 3, the point seems moot as the more important parameter is the fit of the bead on the bead shelf. The Boondocks 3 comes with a rim strip for use with tubes, but for tubeless use, the rim must be taped to seal the spoke nipple holes. This covers the retention lip on the bead shelf, but it still offers enough of a bump to keep the bead from dropping into the channel, which I verified when trying to unseat a tire.
The Alexrims Boondocks 3 rim is laced using 14/15 gauge double-butted black stainless steel J-bend spokes in a x2 pattern attached to Alexrims' high flange hubs. The review set provided to Cyclocross Magazine has an IS 6-bolt disc hub with a 15mm through axle front hub and 142mm X 12mm rear through axle. The axles are aluminum and supported by a four cartridge bearing in the rear, two up front. The cassette body is Shimano/SRAM 11-speed compatible. Center Lock is currently available, and an alloy XD drive is available for consumers.
The claimed weight of the Boondocks 3 is 1,578 grams for the pair of wheels while I measured a weight of 1,709 grams. I had to double check that this is indeed a Boondocks 3 wheelset instead of its heavier brother the Boondocks 5, but though 150 gram heavier than claimed, it’s still 200 grams lighter than the claimed weight of the Boondocks 5.
After weighing the Boondocks 3, I reached out to Evan Kinzey, U.S. brand manager for Alexrims, and he told me Cyclocross Magazine received an OEM wheelset, which often is spec’d with a steel cassette body, though both are available.
For the consumer, an alloy cassette body is the norm , bringing the weight to claimed weight. Update: The Alex website now reflects weights (1714g) similar to our measurements, and the alloy freehub is not listed as an option.
Mounting tubeless ready tires was a snap (literally), though I will mention that with a 21mm internal width, the amount of rim protection with a standard 33mm ’cross tire is reduced compared to 19 or 17mm internal width rim, but the additional volume will be welcomed by most of us non-UCI racers. It is with the 38-42mm gravel tires that this rim is most at home.
There are certainly more tubeless ready tires available now than ever before, and thus I tried mounting a Vittoria XL TNT 33mm cyclocross tire, a WTB Nano TCS 40mm and a Schwalbe 38mm tubeless-easy G-One. All mounted easily—these are tires known to be reliable tubeless tires.
Over several months, in both cyclocross and gravel use, the Boondocks 3 wheelset has remained true and round, and a reliable tubeless option for all the tires we've tried.
The Boondocks 3 wheelset still needs to prove itself in terms of bearing and freehub life, but with an MSRP of $330 for the pair with the alloy cassette body, this seems like an impressive bargain for a mid-weight, easy-mounting tubeless ready disc wheelset.
Alexrims (or Alex Rims) is not the sexiest name in wheels, and these wheels are quite hard to find, but we'll say it again: You'll experience bigger performance gains with a reliable, low-pressure tire setup than you will with 100g of weight savings. In that sense, the Boondocks 3 delivers on its promise, without breaking the bank or scale. At this price, you could buy three and set them up with dry, mix and wet tires and be ready for anything come cyclocross season.
Specifications: Alexrims Boondocks 3
Rim: Aluminum alloy, 30mm deep, 24.6mm outside width, 21mm inside width
Hub: Alexrims aluminum, 24-hole front and rear. Front: QR, 12mm or 15mm X 100mm TA, Rear: 142mm X 12mm TA
Spokes: 14/15 gauge stainless, black, laced x2
Weight: 1,709 grams (actual), Front 806 grams (actual), Rear 903 grams (actual), steel cassette body. Claimed weight for through axle: 1,578 grams, alloy cassette body.
More info: alexrims.com